Skip to main content


Front. Phys.
Sec. High-Energy and Astroparticle Physics
Volume 12 - 2024 | doi: 10.3389/fphy.2024.1387069
This article is part of the Research Topic Science And Technology In Deep Underground Laboratories View all 18 articles

The Underground Argon Project: procurement and purification of Argon for dark matter searches and beyond

Provisionally accepted
Paolo Agnes Paolo Agnes 1Walter Bonivento Walter Bonivento 2Nicola Canci Nicola Canci 3Mauro Caravati Mauro Caravati 1*Susana Cebrian Susana Cebrian 4Valentina Cocco Valentina Cocco 2Daniel Diaz Mairena Daniel Diaz Mairena 5Davide Franco Davide Franco 6Devidutta Gahan Devidutta Gahan 2,7Cristian Galbiati Cristian Galbiati 1,8Pablo Garcia Abia Pablo Garcia Abia 5Adamo Gendotti Adamo Gendotti 9Timotee Hessel Timotee Hessel 6Sosuke Horikawa Sosuke Horikawa 10Rodrigo Lopez Manzano Rodrigo Lopez Manzano 5Ludovico Luzzi Ludovico Luzzi 5Maria Martinez Maria Martinez 4Vicente Pesudo Vicente Pesudo 5Marco Razeti Marco Razeti 2Luciano Romero Luciano Romero 5André Rubbia André Rubbia 9Roberto Santorelli Roberto Santorelli 5Marino Simeone Marino Simeone 11,3Riccardo Stefanizzi Riccardo Stefanizzi 2,7Arianna Steri Arianna Steri 2,7Sara Sulis Sara Sulis 12,2
  • 1 Gran Sasso Science Institute, L’Aquila, Italy
  • 2 National Institute of Nuclear Physics of Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
  • 3 National Institute of Nuclear Physics of Naples, Napoli, Campania, Italy
  • 4 Centro de Astropartìculas y Fìsica de Altas Energìas, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
  • 5 Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 6 APC, Université de Paris, CNRS, Astroparticule et Cosmologie, Paris, France
  • 7 Dipartimento di Fisica, Facoltà di Scienze, Università di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
  • 8 Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 9 Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 10 Dipartimento di Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione e di economia, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 11 Chemical, Materials, and Industrial Production Engineering Department, Universit\`a degli Studi ``Federico II'' di Napoli, Napoli, Italy
  • 12 Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

    The existence of dark matter in the Universe is inferred from abundant astrophysical and cosmological observations. The Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration (GADMC) searches for dark matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), whose collisions with argon nuclei would produce nuclear recoils with tens of keV energy.Argon has been considered an excellent medium in the direct detection of WIMPs as argonbased scintillation detectors can make use of pulse shape discrimination (PSD) to separate WIMP-induced nuclear recoil signals from electron recoil backgrounds with extremely high efficiency.However, argon-based direct dark matter searches must confront the presence of intrinsic 39 Ar as the predominant source of electron recoil background (it is a beta emitter with an endpoint energy of 565 keV and half-life of 269 years). Even with PSD, the 39 Ar activity in atmospheric argon, mainly produced and maintained by cosmic ray induced nuclear reactions, limits the ultimate size of argon-based detectors and restricts their ability to probe very low energy events.The discovery of argon from deep underground well with significantly less 39 Ar than atmospheric argon was an important step in the development of direct dark matter detection experiments using argon as the active target.

    Keywords: Underground argon, 39 Ar, 42 Ar, Dark matter instrumentation, 0νββ decay instrumentation, Low-radioactivity technique, Low-background counting

    Received: 16 Feb 2024; Accepted: 09 Apr 2024.

    Copyright: © 2024 Agnes, Bonivento, Canci, Caravati, Cebrian, Cocco, Diaz Mairena, Franco, Gahan, Galbiati, Garcia Abia, Gendotti, Hessel, Horikawa, Lopez Manzano, Luzzi, Martinez, Pesudo, Razeti, Romero, Rubbia, Santorelli, Simeone, Stefanizzi, Steri and Sulis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

    * Correspondence: Mauro Caravati, Gran Sasso Science Institute, L’Aquila, Italy

    Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.